Husbands starts with a bang and throws you straight into the angst. We are with Russ as he deals with the devastation he feels when Stephen doesn’t enthusiastically accept his marriage proposal. To say it pulled me straight back into Stephen and Russ’s world would be a gross understatement.
I’ve come to love Stephen and Russ while reading Equals, Partners and Family (click the titles for my thoughts on those books) and couldn’t wait for them to achieve their official happy ever after. They didn’t make it easy on themselves or on me.
After the prologue we see Stephen and Russ happy together and I have to admit this threw me for a little while. For some reason I assumed chapter one would take up the story where the prologue ended and it took me a chapter or two to figure out we had actually moved back to an earlier time in their relationship. But, on reflection, I’m glad the story was told the way it was. Seeing Stephen and Russ’s journey to that heartbreaking moment in full detail meant both men’s reactions made perfect sense.
What I really like about these books, and what makes me admire Brigham Vaughn’s writing so much, is that she writes about realistic and recognisable relationships in which the partners go through issues we can all recognise and relate to. There’s nothing contrived about the issues Stephen and Russ run into and that means their problems and the way they deal with pull all the harder on the reader’s heartstrings.
Husbands deals with every question the previous three books may have left the reader with- there’s no lose thread left by the end of the book. Stephen's fifteen year old issues with Jeremy are dealt with, Russ faces the mother who deserted him and both men have to come to terms with what commitment means to them and how they view the future, especially taking into account the age difference between them.
Like the previous three books, Husbands is at times rather hot too. Being together for over a year hasn’t diminished the physical attraction between Russ and Stephen; if anything, the strengthening of their relationship has also improved their sex life. The scene where Russ introduces Stephen to the delights of phone sex was as charming as it was scorching. But, if I’m honest, the physical contact that really got to me were the tiny touches, the quick squeeze of a hand or thigh to show support or acknowledge the other’s presence. They, more than anything, showed how well matched this couple is.
No, their journey to wedded bliss was anything but a smooth ride. It was a fascinating, at times heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting story though. Having become rather attached to these two men I am very grateful that Husbands, while the last book in the series, isn’t quite the end of their fictional life. They are set to make an appearance in Connection; a spin-off novel to be published later this year. All I can say is; bring it on.